Update: Evelyn Beatríz Hernández’s controversial court case was reopened in El Salvador on Monday. It was swiftly suspended after a decision was made that a new trial date would be announced on July 26.
Evelyn Beatríz Hernández was just a student in high school when she was raped in 2016. As a victim, Hernández, who is from El Salvador, said that she was unaware that the assault had resulted in pregnancy when she went into labor in a bathroom in her home and gave birth to a stillborn. Still, despite the tragedies that befell her, Hernández found herself in even worse conditions when she was arrested, put on trial and ultimately sentenced to 30 years in prison for the alleged aggravated murder of the stillborn.
Now, 21, Hernández is due for a retrial.
In February, Hernández’s sentence was annulled, thanks to efforts of civil rights groups.
During her trial in 2017, Hernández was sentenced to a 30-year prison sentence by a female judge who ruled she had induced an abortion. The young woman’s home country of El Salvador has one of the world’s most strict abortion bans where abortion is also illegal in cases of rape, incest, or even when the mother’s life is in jeopardy.
Now, civil rights groups are pushing for Hernández’s release.
“We’re convinced that Evelyn is innocent,” Ana Martínez, a lawyer part of the advocacy organization Citizen Group for the Decriminalization of Abortion and one of Hernández’s lawyers explained to Reuters in an interview. “We hope that on Monday the rule of law and justice wins in this country.”
The CDFA has said that there is no proof that Hernández had actually sought to abort her child.
They also found that she had experienced pregnancy complications. Hernández has said that she was unaware of her pregnancy and confused symptoms for stomach aches and cramps and “experienced intermittent bleeding which she presumed to be her menstrual period.”
El Salvador is one of six countries in the world with complete abortion bans. It’s conviction rates are high and today they have nearly 20 women in jail for abortion crimes after experiencing miscarriages and stillbirths.
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This past Wednesday, the impeachment inquiry into President Donald Trump moved into the public spotlight when the House Intelligence Committee opened hearings in the Capitol. The day was marked with back and forths between members of the committee, both Democrats and Republicans, that further displayed the political divide in this country. The issue at hand is whether Trump pressured Ukraine to investigate his political rival, Joe Biden, by freezing U.S. military aid.
One of the key figures in leading the proceedings is Committee Chairman Adam Schiff (D-Calif.), who has been a frequent target of President Trump. The congressman is heading the Democrats’ investigation into whether Trump abused his presidential powers for political gain and against national security interests. The proceedings are expected to last at least 10 days and will be a showcase of what many Democrats believe is an opportunity to show the American public why Trump needs to be removed from office.
“Our job is to shape public opinion, not just follow public opinion,” Rep. Tom Malinowski (D-NJ), a member of the House Foreign Affairs Committee told Vox. “It’s to do what we think is right, for our country, for our national security, and to persuade people of that.”
One of the biggest moments on the first day of the impeachment hearings came from Rep. Joaquin Castro (D-Texas) who made the argument that Trump’s actions were “criminal.”
Rep. Joaquin Castro (D-TX), who is the chairman of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus and the chairman of his brother Julián Castro’s presidential bid, had one of the most notable moments on Wednesday. In speaking to Bill Taylor, the acting U.S. ambassador to Ukraine, Castro tried to make the case for President Trump’s actions as criminal. Taylor is a key figure in the proceedings as he was the top U.S. official in Ukraine as the scandal was unfolding.
In a tense moment between the two, Castro asked Taylor if he considered President Trump’s actions worthy as being labeled as “criminal.” Castro didn’t back down as he made the comparisons to Trump’s actions to other criminal offenses.
“So ambassadors, is attempted murder a crime?” Castro asked, repeating his question. “Is attempted murder a crime?”
“Attempted murder is a crime,” Taylor said.
“Is attempted robbery a crime?” he asked.
“Neither of us is a lawyer,” Taylor began before Castro interrupted.
“I think anyone in this room could answer that question,” he said.
“I’ll go out on a limb and say yes it is,” Taylor said.
“Is attempted extortion and bribery a crime?” Castro responded.
“I don’t know sir,” Taylor said.
The moment resonated with many people on social media who agreed with Castro’s reasoning.
Castro’s questioning prompted varied responses from people online that agreed with that Trump had indeed committed a crime by withholding money from Ukraine. One of those people included U.S. Rep. Rashida Tlaib (D-Mich.) that echoed similar thoughts to that of many Democrats.
“This is what I have been saying over and over again. Attempting a crime is a CRIME. #ImpeachmentTrumpNow,” Talib tweeted.
In an interview with CNN’s Wolf Blitzer later Wednesday afternoon, Castro reaffirmed his position on his questioning with Taylor. “Based on the evidence that I’ve seen, the President… either he committed extortion and bribery of a foreign official or he committed attempted extortion and bribery of a foreign official… it’s still a crime.” Castro said.
This moment is huge for Castro outside of just the hearings as he pursues to challenge U.S. Senator John Cornyn, (R-Texas). Many are looking at Castro’s role in the hearings as an opportunity to make his name known in the Democratic party.
“It’s an opportunity in the national spotlight,” Mark Jones, a Rice University political science professor, told The Statesman. It’s a chance “to reemerge on the national scene and bolster his overall relevance in the Democratic Party.”
This was one of many big moments on the first day of these impeachment hearings.
If these public hearings are anything like the first day, there will be a lot of action on both sides of the political aisle. Wednesday showed proof that Democrats will pull out all the stops in presenting their case for impeachment to the American people.
Rep. Jim Jordan (R-Ohio) has been one of the most staunch opponents of the Democrats’ attempts to impeach President Trump. During the hearing, Jordan said that the whistleblower was “the reason we’re all sitting here today” and that they should testify before the impeachment inquiry. The goal in doing so would be to discredit the whistleblower’s credibility.
But Rep. Peter Welch (D-Vermont) quickly responded to Jordan’s claims by naming the actual person who started the entire Ukraine scandal.
“I’d be glad to have the person who started it all,” Welch said. “President Trump is welcome to come in and sit down right there.”
The quick exchange produced laughter and applause from some in the room. Even Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez chimed in on the moment. “Don’t sleep on Peter Welch!” she wrote on Twitter. “He’s great.”
If Wednesday is anything like the rest of these hearings we are all in for a real treat for the next few weeks.
To us, it seems like the decade has gone by in the blink of an eye but a lot has actually happened the last 10 years. Reminiscing about that time has us remembering all the amazing events that made up the decade. However, we can’t talk about all that without highlighting some impressive mujeres and the equally remarkable decade they’ve had.
From art and music to sports and activism, Latinas have fiercely dominated their fields this past decade to show us all what excellence looks like. To celebrate these extraordinary women, lets focus on a few who have had especially monumental careers over the last 10 years and praise their accomplishments. Here are some of this past decade’s fiercest Latinas.
1. Cardi B
Instagram / @iamcardib
It’s hard to believe that we entered the 2010’s without knowing the name Cardi B but the Afro-Latina didn’t first enter the limelight until 2015 with her appearance on “Love & Hip Hop: New York.” Less than two months after leaving the reality show to pursue her music career, Cardi signed her first major record deal with Atlantic Records. From that point, there was no stopping the vibrant rapper!
Since then, she’s released numerous #1 singles and collaborations, became the first female rapper to win the “Best Rap Album” Grammy as a solo artist, had the most nominations in a single year ever by a woman at the 2019 Billboard Music Awards, set a new attendance record at the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo and made her big-screen debut in “Hustlers.”
2. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez
Instagram / @ocasio2018
AOC is another fierce Latina who was unheard of at the beginning of the decade. She graduated cum laude from Boston University but had to return home to help her mother fight against home foreclosure following her father’s death. In 2016, she worked for Bernie Sanders’s presidential campaign. After the general election, she traveled across the country to places like Flint, Michigan and Standing Rock Indian Reservation to speak with locals about the environmental crisis their communities face.
In 2017, she got a call recruiting possible progressive candidates and decided to challenge Joe Crowley, the Democratic Caucus Chair of her district. AOC defeated the 10-term incumbent and later beat the Republican nominee to become the congressperson of New York District 14. As a congresswoman, she has been a vocal supporter of Medicare for All and the New Green Deal while fighting against ICE and the atrocities of the current administration.
3. Yalitza Aparicio
Instagram / @yalitzaapariciomtz
Yalitza Aparicio’s success didn’t hit until the later part of the 2010s when she was cast in her first acting role for Alfonso Cuarón’s 2018 drama “Roma.” Her performance was celebrated by audiences and critics alike and earned her an Academy Award nomination for “Best Actress” — the first time an Indigenous woman received the honor and only the second time it went to a Mexicana.
She was nominated for over a dozen awards for her role in “Roma” and won the Hollywood Film Awards’ “New Hollywood Award.” In 2019, Aparicio appeared on the cover of “Vogue México” and was also named one of “TIME” Magazine’s 100 most influential people in the world for 2019. Most recently, she was named UNESCO Goodwill Ambassador for Indigenous Peoples and uses that role to be an activist for Mexico’s native people.
4. America Ferrera
Instagram / @americaferrera
America Ferrera left “Ugly Betty” back in the 2000s and hit the 2010’s hard. First, she made her London stage debut playing Roxie Hart in the musical “Chicago.” In 2015, the actress made it back to television with ABC’s hit comedy “Superstore” in the starring role an as a co-producer. In 2018, she also had two big arrivals with the birth of her first son and the release of her anthology of stories, “American Like Me: Reflections on Life Between Cultures.”
Ferrera has also spent the past decade being highly political. In 2016, she was a speaker at the 2016 Democratic National Convention and joined Voto Latino in order to help get Latinx people involved in voting. She was also a speaker for the 2017 Women’s March and the 2018 “Families Belong Together” protest. The actress also participated in the 2017 #MeToo campaign and is a founding member of the Time’s Up legal defense fund.
5. Elizabeth Acevedo
Instagram / @acevedowrites
At the beginning of the decade, Elizabeth Acevedo started out as a Teach for America Corps participant. There, she taught eighth-graders poetry and language arts. It was there that she got inspiration for her first published novels. In 2016, Acevedo released “Beastgirl and Other Origin Myths,” her first book and a finalist for the YesYes Chapbook prize.
Two years later, she released the “New York Times” Bestseller “The Poet X,” a book that would cement her as an essential Afro-Latina author. “The Poet X” earned numerous accolades, becoming a National Book Award and Carnegie Medal winner as well as winning the Michael L. Printz Award, the Pura Belpre Award, and the Boston-Globe Hornbook Award. In 2019, she released her third novel “With the Fire on High” and has gone on to deliver several TED talks.
6. Rita Moreno
Instagram / @theritamoreno
Rita Moreno has been having amazing decades since the 1950’s so it’s no wonder that the 2010s would be another. She began the decade staring as Fran Drescher’s mother in “Happily Divorced” while continuing guest roles on series like “Welcome to the Family” and “In Plain Sight.” In 2015, she began a recurring role on “Jane the Virgin” and voiced Abuelita on the animated children’s program “Nina’s World.” She took on the role of Lydia for the beloved 2017 reboot “One Day At A Time” and has gained a new generation of fans.
Moreno also received heaps of lifetime achievement awards for her long history as an entertainer. In 2012, she was rewarded with the Latin Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award and then received the Screen Actors Guild Life Achievement Award in 2013. 2015 earned Moreno the Kennedy Center Honors Lifetime Artistic Achievement Award. Most recently, she was named co-grand marshal of the Rose Parade.
7. Laurie Hernandez
Instagram / @lauriehernandez
Phenomenally, this has only been Laurie Hernandez’s second decade on this earth but it has definitely been a big one for here. At the age of 12, Hernandez’s career began at the U.S. Classic where she qualified to the National Championships. In 2013, she was added to the U.S. Junior National Team and won the silver medal at the National Championships. Two injuries sidelined the young gymnast briefly but she later recovered to earn 3 gold and 2 silver medals at the 2015 International Junior Japan Meet.
At the Olympic Trials in 2016, Hernandez placed second in the all-around and earned a place on the 2016 US Olympics Gymnastic team. There, she won gold alongside her team As an individual, she took home silver. Since then, she became the youngest winner of “Dancing With the Stars” and published her first two books, an autobiography, and a children’s book. Most recently, she was inducted into the New Jersey Hall of Fame and was named co-grand marshal of the Rose Parade.
8. Jennifer Lopez
Instagram / @jlo
Jennifer Lopez has been the IT Latina since her days back as a Fly Girl but the 2010s treated her pretty great as well. At the beginning of the decade, JLo signed a $20 million deal to be a judge on “American Idol.” The following year, she launched her first headlining concert series, the Dance Again World Tour, earning $1 Million per show. She also released her first greatest hits album and her eight studio album.
2014 saw the pop star perform for the FIFA World Cup alongside Pitbull and she also released her “New York Times” Bestseller “True Love.” In 2015, JLo announced her Las Vegas residency that spanned for 3 years and earned more than $100 Million in ticket sales. IN 2019, she announced her new concert series, “It’s My Party,” commemorating her 50th birthday. She and boyfriend Alex Rodriguez also made it official by getting engaged this year. Most recently, Lopez released the blockbuster “Hustlers” and was announced to co-headline the 2020 Super Bowl Halftime Show.